Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Travel Quotation

 "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain

Brief Moments for Sgtravelcafe Sept 10: Tongli

What's the connection between Singapore, Guyana (South America) and a slave-trader?

A group, led by a charismatic Chinese missionary from Singapore named O Tye Kim, not only converted many of the Chinese in Guyana, also founded a river settlement called Hopetown in 1865.  O was once a government surveyor in Singapore but supposedly found god after witnessing a dramatic sunset during which the skies was transformed into deep blood red and the sun obscured by strange clouds.  After achieving success converting some Chinese in Singapore, he sailed to London alone without his Singapore-born wife and three children, and then convinced the Church Missionary Society to finance his plans to convert Chinese immigrants in faraway Guyana.


Led by O, the settlement of Hopetown prospered initially as an agricultural settlement of free Chinese, then emerged as a charcoal manufacturing centre.  O, however, was abruptly forced to resign from the spiritual and political leadership of the settlement when he was found having an affair with a local African woman who had become pregnant with his child.  There were also accusations of embezzlement and extortion, as well as involvement in dodgy freewheeling deals Hopetown had by then acquired a reputation for.  He fled to a remote part of Guyana and was then reported to have emigrated to Trinidad around 1867. 


Interestingly, O, now known as “Tye Kim Orr”, emerged again in Civil War-ravaged Louisiana the same year, together with a group of Cuban Chinese.  Described variously as “the priest” and in as a “Chinese gentleman whose enunciation was very clearly resembling very much that of an educated Spaniard”, O became a respectable school teacher, and then went on a speaking circuit around the American South about the merits of employing Chinese coolies to replace the recently freed former Black slaves (whom O described as inherently lazy and undisciplined).  It’s amazing to see how a god-faring Singapore Chinese missionary went to South America to found an idealistic community in the deep jungles but eventually drifted to Cuba and then the American South to become a dodgy importer of Chinese slave-coolie labour.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Youth Olympics Games Singapore 2010 Closing Ceremony

Hurrah! Singapore has done a good job, notwithstanding the miscellaneous reported problems.  The important thing is the international exposure we get and the impression we gave to the rest of the world.  The doubters have raised critical areas for improvements but they have gone too far in dismissing the efforts of the athletes and 20,000 volunteers.  

I had difficulty getting tickets online for the YOG Closing Ceremony as I only decided to go at the very last minute.  Fortunately, I was able to get tickets at the gates and was able to experience the fantastic atmosphere.  Well Done! Majulah Singapura!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

RI Class of 85

Amazing reunion after 25 yrs... Over 70 old boys sang the school song (a bit of goose bump) on stage...Auspicium Melioris Ævi...strange we can recall the lyrics after so long. And our tables were the nosiest in the ballroom, oblivious to Minister Jayakumar et al.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Evening with friends

John, the amazing ex-deejay Bohemian backpacker I met in Canberra, is in Singapore!  He dropped by my place last night, together with Iris, his Singapore couchsurfing host, and my friends, A-Long and Tristan.  Over snacks, an Italian white wine (of which I have forgotten), Mexican Kahlua, South African Amarula and an Australian merlot, we discussed communism, the South China Sea issue and a whole host of long forgotten states to the wee hours of the morning... guess what - 4am!

Here's the Wikipedia links to some of the long forgotten states and entities we discussed:

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Got my Tuvalu postcard...

Finally received my Tuvalu postcard after 1.5 months. I am lucky compared to those who posted their postcards in February and only received it now as well:)

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Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Galapagos Islands remain under threat - Telegraph

The Galapagos Islands remain under threat - Telegraph

The Galapagos Islands remain under threat
Unesco was wrong to remove the Galapagos Islands from the danger list, believes Toni Darton.

The Galapagos Islands contain more than 1,300 species found nowhere else on earth

Saturday, August 07, 2010

YOG torch passes Marymount

The torch for the first Youth Olympics Games - Singapore 2010 - passed Marymount Rd today and I rushed downstairs to take a few photos...  Hurrah!  I support YOG!

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